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This report summarizes insights from a series of workshops conducted by The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) under Chatham House rules in 2023 and early 2024 to identify the factors inhibiting commitments to advanced nuclear energy projects and potential steps to accelerate such commitments. Through these workshops, we found that key factors holding back further commitments include the uncertainty in the ultimate project cost and the long and expensive development process for nuclear energy projects, including licensing. We identified potential actions by private-sector actors, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Congress to accelerate commitments to additional advanced nuclear energy projects by reducing and sharing risks facing early mover projects. 

 

To view NIA's press statement regarding the publication of this paper, click here.  

This NIA Fact Sheet highlights the deployment timeline of selected advanced reactors projects supported by federal partnerships in the United States and expected advanced reactor engagement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in FY2024.

The Urgency of NRC Reform

Judi Greenwald |

This brief authored by NIA Executive Director Judi Greenwald connects the role of advanced nuclear energy in meeting climate and energy security goals with the urgent need for NRC reform to enable advanced nuclear energy. It outlines the short-, medium- and long-term NRC reforms that are necessary to achieve that goal. It provides recommendations for action by Congress and the NRC and highlights several of NIA's recommendations for improving licensing efficiency. NIA developed this brief to serve as a guide for policymakers, the NRC itself, and key stakeholders in considering and then taking action to ensure the NRC can "become an agile, modern, risk-informed, and performance-based regulator to successfully meet this moment."

Washington D.C. Since 2016, The Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp (NIB) has enhanced the careers of students and young professionals working or looking to work in the advanced nuclear energy sector. As the demand for experienced leadership, new ideas, and professional development in this field continues to grow, NIB will be an increasingly important recruitment pipeline for diverse, creative, and energetic young talent.

Looking forward, NIB is preparing to embark on the next phase of its development by focusing on three core initiatives:

  • Strengthening its commitments to innovation education and increasing diversity in the nuclear energy sector
  • Expanding its engagement with a broader range of communities and industries
  • Recruiting talent from underrepresented disciplines and professions

Before embarking on these changes, NIB started by learning from those at the center of our program:
the 151 participants of our first six Bootcamps who now make up our alumni network. The information in
this report is largely based on survey results and interviews from this group. We hope that you will find
the information and stories below as motivating as we do.

NIA Research Director Patrick White presented an American Nuclear Society, Community of Practice Webinar on "Next Steps on 10 CFR Part 53: Updates on Developing a New Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors."

The webinar provided a history of nuclear regulation in the United States, the development process for 10 CFR Part 53, and updates on the current status and next steps for the new regulatory framework for advanced reactors. 

The presentation slides can be found here.

Enabling High Volume Licensing of Advanced Nuclear Energy

Patrick White & Rama T. Ponangi |

This report reviews the current licensing process for new nuclear power plants at the NRC and concludes that it is unlikely the agency could reasonably scale existing licensing processes as they are currently implemented to meet the potential future high volume licensing demand (tens to hundreds of new reactors per year) to meet mid-century climate goals. It also identifies major licensing processes that most significantly constrain NRC licensing capacity limitations relevant to future high volume licensing. Finally, it presents three specific proposals that aim to enable high volume licensing of advanced nuclear energy by the NRC in the long term.

To view NIA's press statement regarding the publication of this paper, click here

This report by NIA provides new technical analyses of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production cost and the funding requirements for federal programs to support HALEU availability for advanced reactors. The production cost analyses highlight and quantify the role of different cost drivers (including both existing uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment capacity as well as new HALEU enrichment and deconversion capacity) in the cost of domestic HALEU production. These production cost-drivers are the starting point for commercial and government efforts to catalyze domestic HALEU production. The federal HALEU availability program evaluations we present characterize the Congressional appropriation needs to catalyze private investment new HALEU production capacity under a wide range of market conditions. These detailed program evaluations reinforce on-going work by Congress to secure additional legislative authorizations and appropriations for domestic HALEU production. This report provides a strong technical, economic, and policy basis for on-going efforts by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the U.S. Department of Energy to catalyze new domestic commercial production of HALEU for advanced reactors.

 

To see this report's summary for policymakers that focuses on the full report’s high-level policy takeaways, click here

This summary for policymakers provides high-level policy takeaways from NIA's report, "Characterizing an Emerging Market for High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium Production". This report by NIA provides new technical analyses of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production cost and the funding requirements for federal programs to support HALEU availability for advanced reactors. To read the full report, click here